Skeptics Circle 56

The 56th Edition of the Skeptics Circle is out! Read it here.


  1. #1 belag
    March 15, 2007

    This is my first post on this blog. I describe an experiment I did recently. My apologies for the bland, monotonous presentation. I’m not in the mood to learn markdown for now.

    I have been interested in climate change slightly for a long time, but I’ve only recently begun to take more interest in it.

    Well, I guess you can call me a convert to man-made global warming.

    I am influenced by a lot of “leftist” arguments. Well, I thought I should go get some perspective on the “right”.

    I don’t know exactly what “right” is, since the terms have become so debased now, but I went to this blog:

    The site claims that it’s mission is exposing and combating liberal media bias. Well, I thought, this would do for a start.

    On to my experiment.

    I posted a pro-global-warming post on this blog. You can find it here: My username there is belag. Warning: It’s a very very long exchange.

    1. I sort of made quite a long post. Much longer than anybody else. I doubt most people would’ve even read a small portion of it.
    2. I was quite polite. Didn’t resort to name-calling even once. I was called a troll, idiot and buffoon multiple times.
    3. I gave sources for each and every one of my points. The IPCC report, AGU position statements, Science mag. articles.
    4. Almost without exception, every reply contained claims with either no source, or newspaper reports as source.
    5. The arguments took the following forms
    a) Citing sources claiming to have “refuted” the consensus.
    b) Attack on my sources, claiming they were biased.
    c) Attack on my use of “consensus”.

    I wish to elaborate upon c). I realized this quite late in the post.

    Many of the posters seemed to think scientific consensus is an oxymoron. They seemed really unclear about what scientific consensus is. They seemed to think that unless something is 100% proved to be correct, it’s not science. They seemed to ridicule my faith in “peer-review” – terming it “mob rule” or “populism”.

    I wish the pose the following points:

    a) With me and the posters there having a basic disagreement on the basics of the scientific method, is there any hope of communicating my position to them? If yes, and if you were in my place, what would you have done any different?

    b) Why do they disbelieve the IPCC reports, AGU position statements – direct sources to believe newspaper reports which in theory are indirect sources – reporting only direct ones.

  2. #2 Bill O'Slatter
    March 15, 2007

    Tim you’ve neglected your pinata of stupid duties. Blairie’s now bursting at the seams.

  3. #3 Louis Hissink
    March 22, 2007


    There is no such thing as scientific consensus – unless you mean, that we in science, are still debating gravity.

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